2005 Intel Developer Forum Highlights

Intel gathered the masses to its temple last week for its Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco, California. The 100 technology forums and six keynotes offered glimpses into the leading chipmaker?s future development plans.

During the first day of activities, the forefront of Intel?s announcements was news of their new I/O Acceleration Technology, which will speed the interaction between network data and server applications by up to 30 percent. It takes a platform approach to the interaction, breaking up the data-handling aspects among all the components that make up the platform. This, Intel says, will reduce the workload on the processor and accelerate the flow of data.

“Intel I/OAT demonstrates the advancements that are possible when a problem is approached from a platform perspective,” said Intel Digital Enterprise Group Senior Vice President Pat Gelsinger.  “The benefit to end users is better performance, particularly on transaction applications, such as Web commerce or electronic banking, while businesses benefit from reduced cost of ownership and improved ability to grow the system.” Microsoft pledged to support the I/O Acceleration process by offering native support in future Windows Server releases.

Senior Vice President Pat Gelsinger
Intel’s Pat Gelsinger talks answers questions

Intel also gave word of their Active Management Technology, a specification that will give IT managers and the like more control over networked computers. AMT, according to Intel, will allow remote discovery and repair of many more computer problems than previously possible, even when a system is turned off or the operating system is frozen.

“Intel AMT will greatly improve asset management and help reduce system downtime, technical assistance and operational costs,” said Intel Digital Enterprise Group Vice President and General Manager Abhi Talwalkar.  “It is an example of how Intel is integrating platform innovations into silicon to enhance management and security of today’s networked computing environments.” Intel said AMT would be implemented as a subsystem, providing easy remote management because it would not be dependent upon the host operating system.

The Forum?s second day dawned with Intel shifting the focus more towards technologies that would be suitable in the mobile and embedded markets. The chip maker bolstered their NOR flash memory product offerings. NOR, a rewriteable memory chip that holds content without power, has been around since 1988.

“Intel achieved great momentum in the non-volatile memory business in 2004 with its industry-leading NOR flash product line, and we are approaching 2005 with even more focus and determination,” said Intel Flash Products Group Vice President and General Manager Darin Billerbeck. “By adding these new products, we are doubling our NOR product portfolio to meet both our cellular and embedded customer requirements for high performance, high reliability and code execution.”

?Sibley,? the mobile market offering, is a multi-level cell (MLC) device that will offer faster read and storage times for multimedia images pulled down for wireless handsets. On the embedded side, ?Sixmile? will provide the lowest cost-per-bit solution yet available.

In line with the mobile market offering, Intel also showed off their third generation mobile concept PCs.

Intel Concept Laptop
Intel Concept Laptop

“The new concept mobile PC designs feature system-level innovation that builds on Intel’s silicon leadership and helps to catalyze the notebook computer industry, to create compelling new solutions that deliver a range of form factors, capabilities and end-user benefits,” said Mike Trainor, Intel’s chief mobile technology evangelist. “Intel innovation is enabling the industry to transform the mobile PC into the essential digital lifestyle accessory.”

Intel's On The Go Mobile Concept PC
Intel’s On The Go Mobile Concept PC

In these new, ultra mobile notebooks, aimed at the entertainment market, Intel envisioned a device which would fit into a user?s hands. It would have a touch screen that doubles as a flat surface speaker, eliminating the need for a keyboard. Among other features, it would provide greater on-the-go communications functions, a detachable DVD player, GPS navigation and a built-in camera.

In contrast to the entertainment model, a device more focused on business use is an ultra slim and quiet office desktop, which combines the form factor of a notebook with the power and performance of a full-sized desktop PC.

Intel's Slim Office Concept PC
Intel’s Slim Office Concept PC

During a keynote, Intel?s demonstration of this on-the-go PC concept was a device integrating with a Land Rover via a docking station. From there, users could enjoy their personal media while on the road. The PC also interfaced wirelessly with car speakers via a Bluetooth audio adaptor and allowed the PC?s GPS functions to be used for car navigation.

On The Go Concept 2
Intel’s On The Go Mobile Concept PC integrates with a Land Rover

In the realm of the digital home, Intel talked about new dual core processors and related chipsets that will provide greater home entertainment options.

“Intel will not define the digital home by its shape, size or location, nor will we limit the opportunities of the digital home to a single device,” said MacDonald. “Whether it starts with an Entertainment PC for graphic-intense gaming, an MP3 player for digital music, or a personal media recorder for recording TV shows, it takes just one device and one new way to use technology to open the door to more devices, uses and a whole new digital home experience.”

The new Intel Pentium D processor, designed like all others to bring increased computing capabilities, is geared to allow multiple users to enjoy simultaneous computing experiences at the same time without noticeable impact on the host PC. This includes streaming multiple audio streams to different users. Intel said they expected computer makers to have these chips in new PCs by the second quarter of this year.

On the last day, chief amongst Intel?s announcements was news regarding the completion of key specifications for ultra-wideband (UWB) wireless technology. This technology will allow data transmission within short range (up to 10 meters) at very high bandwidths (up to 480Mbps) while using little power and not interfering with other wireless technologies.

Out of UWB is arising Wireless USB. This specification is expected to be completed by the end of the month and will essentially allow the same ease of use and high speed data transfers found in USB 2.0, but without the wires.

Intel also talked of bringing ?digital intelligence? to future electronics products. A keynote given by Justin Rattner, a senior fellow of the company, included ways in which people will be able to interact with technology much like they interact with other people.

“Imagine a phone that can translate languages in real time so you can talk to people in other countries more easily, or finding a photo of your children playing with a pet from among the thousands of photos you have stored in multiple computers in your house,” said Rattner. “These tasks might seem simple, but they require levels of performance, sophistication and intelligence in both hardware and software that don’t exist today. To deliver these capabilities in products that are easy to use and attractive to many people requires that we, as an industry, rethink our approach to platform development.”

He cited several ways, such as evolving processor architectures to move towards supercomputer-like processing, which will continue to make technology more valuable and useful for people as more sophisticated needs arise.

More pictures of the show are found on the next page.

On The Go Concept
Navigate the streets using your bicycle and Intel’s mobile PC

Chrysler Concept
Work from your car, or take your music on the road

More concept PC's
Intel’s CEO Craig Barrett shows of some concept PCs

Say cheese

The media flocks around the concept systems on display

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